Archive for September, 2008

Road Trip Canada, Days 1-4

9/7/2008 – 9/10/2008

Vancouver – Kamloops – Lac Le Juene – Kelowna – Revelstoke – Olds

On the Road in Chilliwack, British Columbia

I arrived at the Kamloops greyhound terminal after a fairly uneventful trip. My grandpa was there to pick me up and we stopped to get some dinner (supper, here in Canada) to take back to the house. After supper we headed out to the lake house at Lac Le Juene, just a half an hour away. Lake at Sunset I, Lac Le Juene, British Columbia I ran shortly after arriving, but a little while later the sun went down in a spectacular fashion. Throughout this trip we would play cards for small change, but this first night–the time I ran away with the game–we neglected to put any money on the line. Oh well. The plan was to visit my paternal grandma in Kelowna, a couple of hours away, before we headed east for real, so we headed to bed fairly early.

Family, Kelowna, British Columbia

At my grandma Wallace’s in Kelowna, my uncle Vern and aunt Marilyn surpised me by attending as well. We had a good lunch and it was really nice to catch up with these people as I hadn’t seen them in many years, Marilyn in particular. Vern just recently retired and he seems to be having a great time of it so far.

A stop for ice cream at a dairy that had a camel and a llama in the yard was the extent of our stops before a hotel in Revelstoke for the night.

BC Logging Truck II, British Columbia

Tuesday morning we got on the road early, crossing the border to Alberta in a fog before arriving at my great uncle Daryl and great aunt Verna’s place in Olds, north of Calgary. Here I ran, played cards, billiards, and shuffleboard, and ate excellent food. I also got to listen to lots of family catching-up and stories about relatives that I don’t know very well.

Reading: The Balkans; A Storm of Swords.

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Vancouver, British Columbia

9/2/2008 – 9/7/2008

Vancouver is…

Tuesday morning, after walking a big circle around and over the Seattle Amtrak station, I found my way in, got my ticket, and boarded the train. After a scenic trip alongside the Puget Sound, we continued up the coast to the border. We passed the White Rock beach where I spent many days as a kid, and eventually arrived in Vancouver, where I was hassled by the border guard for a while before she let me into the country. Seriously, I’ve never had trouble with the USA – Canada crossing before, what’s going on here? Maybe it’s my crappy beard combined with my lack of a return ticket? Hah.

While I was in Vancouver, I didn’t really do anything touristy. Now, looking back on it, this was a mistake, but I hope to go back and see a few of the cooler touristy things some time in the future. I did manage to see several old friends, though, which was really great.

Science World / Obsession with Cranes, Vancouver, British Columbia

So, I walked from the train station over to Sebastien’s workplace, and we went to grab some lunch. I hadn’t seen Seb in a few years, probably, so it was really nice to catch up a bit. I would have much more chance for that, however, since I was staying at Seb and his fiance Hope’s apartment for the week. They were great hosts! Seb gave me his key after lunch and I made my way over to the place. First things first: I went for a run on the Seawall around Stanley Park. I actually did this several times during the visit, exploring a fair amount of the park and completing the whole circuit at least once. It’s a beautiful place to run, and Seb & Hope live really close to the park.

S & H came home, with guests, and we proceeded to have dinner and drink various of Seb’s homebrew beers. Great!

Wednesday: I piddled away the morning, probably doing computery things, then walked over to Canada’s version of REI, Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) to look at what they had to offer. Pretty much their own versions of REI stuff, plus all the big names. A cool store, for sure. I didn’t end up buying anything since the only pants I saw that I wanted cost more than I wanted to spend. I rushed from MEC to a bus-stop to ride to the skytrain station to take the train out to Coquitlam where my oldest friend in the world, Ryan Cocks, was waiting to pick me up. We grabbed dinner and sat around talking for a long time before heading back to his house out in Maple Ridge. More chatting, this time with Fraser and Lynn, his parents, and a couple of his sisters, Emily and Olivia. Olivia was really a sport because she didn’t actually remember me from my last visit (she’s 11), but we got along really well since I’ve known her family for her whole life.

So, Thursday morning I woke up at the Cocks’ house after most everyone had left for work. A nice breakfast with Lynn and Olivia was followed by some time looking at pictures and finally an hour or two of Rock Band with O before lunch. After lunch Lynn drove me back to the bus station so I could get back to Vancouver. I met Seb at the public library (quite impressive!) and then we went to a diner he knew to share a pitcher of beer. We met Hope for dinner and then retired to the apartment before going out later. We played some pool, which was great fun, and watched their bank teller’s band play one song. We would have seen more but they weren’t really going on until midnight and my hosts had to work in the morning. Yes, that’s right, their bank teller’s band. Weird, huh? I guess he told them about the show in between processing their deposits and withdrawals or something.

Friday, I ran some more and walked around downtown. In the evening I met my old friend Jadon for dinner and caught up with him some before heading back the the apartment and going to sleep. Seb and Hope had headed down to Portland for the weekend, so I had the place to myself.

On Saturday, I ran, then spent most of the day on the computer reading and planning my future travels. I also walked around outside some, and read a bit of a book of short stories I found on the bookshelf. Nice. Ryan came over in the evening and we ended up hanging out until quite late, walking pretty much the whole way around downtown and meeting one of his friends along the way. By the way, Granville Street is pretty wild on a Saturday night. Fun to look at.

Pre-Departure Espresso, Vancouver, British Columbia

Sunday morning, I packed up and headed over to the Main Street station to catch my bus to up to Kamloops. Picture is of my daypack and espresso just before I got on the bus.

Reading: The Balkans.
Departure: Greyhound Bus from Vancouver to Kamloops, British Columbia, $39.90 CAD.

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Seattle, Washington

9/1/2008 – 9/2/2008

A really quick stop in Seattle to see Jess and catch a train to Vancouver. I met up with Jess and a couple of her friends for a couple of drinks and some socializing before¬†we headed out to dinner. After hanging out for a couple of hours Jess took me back to her house and then left me there with instructions on how to get to the train station in the morning–she was housesitting for somebody elsewhere so had to leave.

I forgot the instructions but still managed to find the train station.

Reading: The Balkans.

Departure: Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver, BC, $35.00.

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Portland, Oregon

8/30/2008 – 9/1/2008

Due to my silliness in Eugene I arrived a couple of hours late, and even though Jimbo had been at the train station looking for me earlier (his phone was dead) he managed to borrow another car to come pick me up. Great! We stopped by Powell’s and grabbed a slice of pizza up on Hawthorne before heading back to his house. We went over to Nathan’s house to watch the Oregon Ducks football game, then kept hanging out there in the evening drinking beer for a while. Ended up in somebody’s basement watching people play music.

On Sunday we again hung out at Nathan’s with the big screen TV, eventually ordering a gigantic amount of fried chicken while watching Uptown Saturday Night (which was really great!). After eating way too much we went back to Jimbo’s to recuperate before heading to the west side to go to a karaoke night Casey had organized. He managed to get many of Portland’s famous and not-yet-famous musicians to show up and hang out, many of them singing a song or two. It was weird because I recognized many of the people in the room from Eugene. Apparently most of the U of O moves to Portland after graduation.

Monday afternoon I headed across town on the bus to meet my ride. I got on the wrong one the first time but managed to figure it out in time and was lucky with the timing so didn’t miss my ride.

Reading: Started reading Jimbo’s copy of Bomb the Suburbs–it’s great!–but I left my copy in Eugene so I’ll have to finish it later. Also still working on The Balkans.

Departure: Craigslist rideshare to Seattle, $15.

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Arrowhead Lake & the Middle Sister

8/26/2008 – 8/28/2008

I went backpacking with my buddy Jake and his friend Toby. After borrowing a lot of gear from Jake and packing my backpack up, we headed over to Toby’s house for a delicious breakfast. As we finished breakfast, it was still only 9 AM or so, so we still got an early start. Driving out of Eugene through Springfield, up highway 126, then turning onto old 242 we soon arrived at the Obsidian Limited Access Area trailhead, parked and headed out. I hadn’t really hiked in the area around the sisters before, but wow! it’s really beautiful.

On Wednesday morning, we woke early ready to climb the mountain, only to find terrible weather. It was completely “socked in” which apparently is commonly understood to mean “cloudy and foggy everwhere” even though I’ve never heard it before. Anyways, we went back to sleep for a while. Eventually, I got out of the tent and shivered while I made some coffee, quickly returning to the tent to eat breakfast and figure out what we would do. Around 12:30 we decided that even though the weather was bad we had to do something, so we flipped a rock to decide whether to hike uphill or downhill. The plan was just to walk around for an hour or two and see what happened. The rock said to go uphill, so we grabbed a powerbar each and headed out. As we left I asked if there wasn’t some chance we might climb the mountain, so Toby and Jake each grabbed their ice axes. This was the start of our “accidental” summit of the Middle Sister. Here’s a view from the top, including the South Sister and Jake:

Panorama from Summit, Middle Sister, Oregon

After returning to camp, Jake and I went for a silly run which left me really, really tired. Fun times.

I took a bunch of pictures during the trip, so go take a look at the whole set on flickr. As you will see, we also stopped at Proxy Falls on the way home.

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Eugene, Oregon

8/19/2008 – 8/29/2008

Wow, I fell way behind on updating this. Eugene was too lazy, I guess. And I’ve been too busy since I started traveling again. Anyways, I’ll try to post a couple things up today and catch up to where I currently am (Vancouver!).

Eugene was great fun, but only a few things happened that are really worth mentioning. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for the upcoming journey, which was partially fun and partially stressful, but in between that I got to do some fun stuff. A concert, some bar time, some hiking, reading, watching Olympics, etc.

On the weekend, Steph and I went for a hike up Mt June. It was pretty nice and we managed to have a nice walk in the woods even though we did get somewhat lost.

View from Mt June Mt June

Tuesday through Thursday I was backpacking in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area of the Willamette National Forest. More on that in the next post, but we climbed the middle sister on Wednesday.

Reading: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Balkans – a 700 page tome that John recommended I read before we go there. I can’t wait to finish it so I won’t have to carry it around anymore.

Departure: Amtrak Thruway bus from Eugene to Portland, Oregon, $22.00.

Funny story: I had a ticket on the early morning Cascades train to Portland, but after I had been sitting in my seat for about 5 minutes waiting for the train to leave I realized that my passport was still at my mom’s house. “Excuse me, excuse me,” I said, as I pushed past some people and jumped out of the closing train door. Fortunately, some friendly Amtrak employees moved my ticket to the bus two-and-a-half hours later (refunding me four dollars in the process) and Steph, who hadn’t yet left for the weekend, was able to run me out there real quick to pick it up. Fun times.

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